Research Assistant I

East Lansing
Jun 07, 2017
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution
Position Summary

This position provides technical support for the Stone Fruit Physiology Research Program in the Horticulture department at Michigan State University. Responsibilities include assistance and oversight of orchard, greenhouse, growth chamber, and laboratory experiments including experimental design, implementation, and analysis of research trials related to horticultural management and physiological studies of tree fruit, primarily cherries, peaches, and apricots. Orchard trials include those at several MSU research centers as well as cooperative studies with commercial growers throughout Michigan’s tree fruit production regions. Research may include fruit tree training systems, reproductive and environmental physiology, rootstock and cultivar evaluations, crop load management, nutrient acquisition, and orchard efficiencies. Tasks may involve, but are not limited to, planting, preparation of chemical and non-chemical treatments, growth monitoring, nutrient and tissue sampling, irrigation, pruning, plant protection, harvest, and fruit quality analyses. Coordination and communication with members of the research team and farm staffs at MSU research centers is required. The successful candidate will operate and maintain research instruments/equipment, and collect, organize, statistically analyze and prepare data for presentations and reports; will oversee ordering supplies, assist with grant proposal preparations, supervise temporary employees and undergraduate students, and coordinate activities to support graduate students, postdoctoral research associates, visiting scientists, and industry and faculty collaborators working within the research team. The position is physically demanding and requires the ability to travel and work outside in inclement weather conditions for extended periods throughout the year to ensure the timely completion of research objectives.


Unit Specific Education/Experience/Skills

Knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a four-year college degree program in Horticulture or plant-related discipline; one to three years of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in standard laboratory procedures and safety requirements and performing analytical and research techniques in an area related to research being performed; may require software specific to the area of research; or an equivalent combination of education and experience. The position requires a valid vehicle operator's license and possession of a commercial pesticide applicator license within 6 months from start date. 

Desired Qualifications

M.S. degree in Horticulture or plant-related discipline; experience in plant physiological research techniques; proficiency in programming and operation of data loggers; operation of farm equipment including tractors and implements, sprayers, forklifts, and tree fruit specific machinery such as mechanical platforms, hedgers, etc.; experience supervising employees; experience communicating with growers and extension educators; ability and interest in publishing research results.


Required Application Materials

Cover letter, resume/CV, contact information for 3 references. 

Work Hours


Description of End Date

12 months from the date of hire

Summary of Physical Demands

Ability to occasionally lift 50 lbs and regularly lift up to 30 lbs. 


Bidding Eligibility Ends 6/13/2017 @ 11:55 PM

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